What do you do when you see that there is a change that needs to be made in your life? You’re running away from the people you love and you realize you are not the person you thought you were. Some folks turn to religion, some turn to substances; others go to therapy in some form.
Sam Harper decides to help out someone he has never met before. The new film “People Like Us” tells us his story. Sam (Chris Pine) is in the bartering business, facilitating the trading of goods between companies. His boss finds a mistake that he has made that could have the government looking too closely at their practices. As a result, he will lose a big commission so his boss can pay a vendor off.
Later that day, Sam finds out his dad has died. Sam was not on the best of terms with his dad and hasn’t been for most of his life. So much so, Sam hides his wallet so he misses the flight that will get him to the funeral on time. He does eventually make it home, but his mom (Michelle Pfeiffer) is not happy.
Sam meets with his father’s lawyer to discuss the will, and Sam receives his father’s shaving kit. When he opens it he finds $150,000 and a note. The note says to give the money to Josh Davis (Michael Hal D’Addario) and take care of them. Sam finds the address on the note and tracks down Josh’s mother, Frankie (Elizabeth Banks). He also learns she is his sister. He always thought he was an only child.
Sam must decide whether or not to give Frankie the money or use it for his own desperate needs. He has the government looking into his business practices. He also must deal with discovering a new sibling, losing his girlfriend and his mother’s health. He befriends Frankie and Josh but cannot work up the courage to tell them who he is. His life is not what he thought it was a week ago, and now he must decide what he is going to do.
This film is unique in the sense that the two lead characters are not in a romantic relationship. It was refreshing that you knew that was not an option for the story. All three of the major actors in this movie did great jobs playing each of their characters. Michelle Pfeiffer almost never had her hair brushed, looking like she was always just getting out of bed. The payoff scene near the end of this film was a very nice surprise.
There are some considerations for a younger audience who might want to see this film, mainly some drug and alcohol use and smoking. There is a scene of a sexual nature, and some profanity coming from the Josh character. The only violence in the film occurs when Josh hits another student and when Frankie throws Sam out of her home.
There were a few moments in the story that didn’t seem right with the film, but those were small things that were easy to overlook. This story is character driven and the characters are interesting, so it makes for a good film. If you like to go people watching, you will enjoy “People Like Us,” since it is an exploration of what happens when we must change our lives to be the person we think we are.
Shawn O'Neill is the Family Man Movie Reviewer on BYU Radio. His reviews can be heard on BYURadio.org and on SiriusXM Channel 143.